Author: Catie Hall

Catie is a marketing/proposal coordinator at Hoyle Tanner. She works with project managers to create beautifully-designed marketing materials for aviation, bridge, roadway, and utility engineering. She is known for her communication skills and love of editing. An introvert at heart and a natural bibliophile, Catie spends her free time transfixed in novels, finding solace in the mountains, and playing with her dog.

Employee Spotlight: Justin Keefe

Photo of Justin Keefe with grass and trees in the background

Justin Keefe – Airport Engineer & Home Project Manager

1. What drew you to Hoyle Tanner?

I was in a site civil position with another firm when Tim Audet told me about an opening in the aviation group. I get to design and oversee construction on airport projects. Engineering and airplanes, sign me up!

2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?

Flexibility. I have been lucky enough to share responsibilities as a designer and as a resident engineer. In both roles you need to be ready for the unexpected. This is true for the individual as well as the team.

3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle Tanner & why?

The winter is design season. Design work keeps you out of the elements! I was in landscape construction for 10 years, and I always envied those who worked inside during the winter months, so I never take it for granted.

4. What’s the coolest thing you’re working on & why?

I’m working on an apron project with many challenges. There is an adjacent design/construction project, shallow bedrock, treating stormwater from fueling and non-fueling areas, geothermal crossings, etc. I have been tapping into and expanding my civil 3D knowledge quite a bit.

5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?

My two girls are moving up to their next class at daycare. One is moving from the toddler room to preschool and the other is moving from preschool to pre-kindergarten. I love watching them grow!

6. How many different states have you lived in?

Three: Massachusetts Native, Vermont, New Hampshire

7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Any pasta dish from Podere Il Casale in Tuscany

8. What kind of pet do you have & how did you choose to name it?

I have a dog named Neela. My brother named her for her blue eyes as a puppy.

9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?

Rebecca and Abigail Bates, aka ‘The Army of Two,’ reportedly deterred the sailors from a British ship from coming ashore to ransack the town for supplies. The two played their fife and drum from behind a sea wall to sound like a small militia.

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • Seeing Mount Everest
  • Learn to play the guitar
  • Trip into space

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island.

  • Sailboat
  • Harmonica
  • Sunscreen

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?

Organization.

13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?

1978 Paddington Bear Piggy Bank

14. Words to live by? Favorite quote? Why?

‘I’ll ride the wave, where it takes me’, Eddie Vedder. Life is not a straight line, and many of the things that force us to change direction are out of our control. The thing that you can control is how you handle change and your ability to go with the flow.

15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Photographer

16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?

Johnny Utah

Employee Spotlight: Steve Haas

Steve Haas featured with his family

Stephen Haas, PE – Vice President, Senior Transportation Engineer & Roadway Historian

1. What drew you to Hoyle Tanner?

I have always had an interest in roads and roadway design. At my last two companies we didn’t do enough of this work. My boss (who was leaving the company) suggested that the people and the work (I-93 at the time) at Hoyle Tanner would be a good fit for me. He was right!

2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?

It’s all about people. Regardless of what you’re working on, being surrounded by good people who can support you will carry you through and help you keep a positive attitude.

3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle Tanner & why?

Christmas time obviously. I enjoy the decorations, and the cold weather means there are more people in the office.

4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on & why?

Roundabout design (Conway and Rochester, New Hampshire). As a traffic engineer, I have an interest in intersections and traffic flow so I have always wanted to design one of these alternate improvements. They are safe, too!

5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?

Getting to spend extra time with family over a long holiday weekend (Memorial Day weekend).

6. How many different states have you lived in?

Three (Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire)

7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Sandwiches, I’m a pretty simple man.

8. What kind of pet do you have & how did you choose to name it?

A cat, Ari. My wife and I were watching “Entourage,” with “Ari Gold” the agent. My wife suggested that Ari, which means lion in Hebrew, made sense. It is fitting, as he is an aggressive kitty.

9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?

Stratham is the US headquarters for Lindt Chocolates. We can smell it when the wind is right.

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • Visit the Pyramids or Mayan Ruins
  • Own a beach house
  • Road trip across the US

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island.

  • Plenty of heavy metal music
  • Beer, beer, beer
  • My wife (she made me say that)

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?

Humility.

13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?

My blanket from when I was a kid. (Is that embarrassing? Thanks, Mom).

14. Words to live by? Favorite quote? Why?

“Whatever you do, do it well.” – Walt Disney

15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

A construction worker (I am in the same field at least).

16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?

“Wow, this really looks like Google Earth.” (I am obsessed with maps and aerial photos.)

Employee Spotlight: Brian Nichols

Brian Nichols and his family posing in front of a green landscape

Brian Nichols, Senior CADD Designer & Civil War Enthusiast

1. What drew you to Hoyle Tanner?

Hoyle Tanner is a large enough firm to offer stability, yet small enough to be able to know everyone. I came from MaineDOT so I had also formed working relationships with several Hoyle Tanner employees. Being able to get straightforward information about a firm, both good and bad, from someone I trusted was probably the only way I would have had the confidence to move out of my comfort zone.

2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?

Ask for help when you need it. 

3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle Tanner & why?

Springtime is my favorite time of year period. Thanks to Hoyle Tanner’s generous telework policy,  I can enjoy springtime all the more. It’s not uncommon for me to take my lunch break outside enjoying a “picnic” lunch with my family or picking away at some yard work project.

4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on & why?

So many of the bridge projects that I work on are in areas in which I frequently travel. Being able to show my family is pretty cool. My kids refer to many of them as “Daddy’s Bridge” which likely under-represents the level of involvement of other team-members.

5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?

I woke up with a roof over my head and a family who loves me.

6. How many different states have you lived in?

Just Maine. In fact I live in the house I grew up in so the furthest move I’ve made has been to change bedrooms.

7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

Grilled cheese sandwiches.

8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?

A cat, Clarabelle. My wife named it.

9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?

In addition to a few Civil War veterans of note, Jefferson, Maine was also the home of Don Bowman, who played minor league baseball for several seasons back in the late 40s/early 50s and was also one of the five bus drivers in my grade school.

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

Become a Licensed Battlefield Guide at Gettysburg. Visit every Presidential gravesite (14 down, 25 to go). Build my dream HO scale model train railroad layout.

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island.

My Bible, a fishing pole, and a derelict antique tractor to tinker on.

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?

Humility and honesty.

13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?

I’m sure I have some neckties from high school that probably would be put to better use staking tomato plants.

14. Words to live by? Favorite quote? Why?

“If you need a machine and don’t buy it, you pay for it without getting it.” ~ Henry Ford. We may not have literal machinery in the sense that Henry Ford was referring to. Our “machinery” looks like updated skills, newer methods, current software, etc. Investing in it is costly but not investing in it is more so.

15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Locomotive Engineer

16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?

Did I remember everything on the “Things to do before landing” checklist? Please note that skydiving is NOT on my bucket list.

Employee Spotlight: Charles Ramey

Employee Spotlight: Featured image of Charles Ramey next to partner in stadium surrounded by other people

Charles Ramey – Environmental Engineer & Novelty Seeker

1. What drew you to Hoyle Tanner?

When I moved from Colorado to Vermont, I was looking for any position in the industry that would allow me to learn. Hoyle Tanner stood out because they had job listings in Burlington for a few different positions I was interested in, and I knew I would have an opportunity to develop a wide variety of skills.

2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?

You don’t need to do anything alone. There are great people with a lot of knowledge and experience to share, both within Hoyle Tanner and outside the company.

3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle Tanner & why?

I’ve only been with Hoyle Tanner for half a year, so we’ll see what the summer brings. That being said, I enjoy late winter/early spring because it’s a time when we get to complete a lot of design work as we head into construction season.

4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on, and why?

Everything I work on is cool! If I had to pick one project it would be assessing the Bolton Valley Ski Resort’s water system. Coming from Colorado, I’ve spent a lot of time on the slopes, so it’s cool to see the unique challenges of a ski resort’s landscape, weather, and seasonal occupancy.

5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?

I just completed hockey lessons yesterday, and now I’m able to play my favorite sport!

6. How many different states have you lived in?

Two. I lived in Colorado for the first 25 years of my life and just moved to Vermont in August.

7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

My grandmother’s pasta. We all love family cooking and nothing beats my Italian grandmother’s homemade pasta sauce.

8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?

I have a three-year-old American pit bull terrier super mutt who I rescued in October. We kept the name Piper, which was given to her by her previous owner.

9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?

My hometown has a coal mining history that is older than the state of Colorado itself, and many of the mines still exist underneath the town!

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • See the Aurora Borealis (and visit Antarctica, two in one!)
  • Visit the 7 Wonders of the World
  • Go on an African safari

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island.

  • My guitar
  • A ball (any ball, just something to play with)
  • My favorite book series (Red Rising by Pierce Brown)

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?

Patience

13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?

I have a vibrant ski jacket from the 80s that I bought at a thrift store.

14. Words to live by? Favorite quote? Why?

There’s no such thing as failure until you give up on yourself. Every “failure” is an opportunity to learn and grow. Even if we decide to stop trying something, it’s important to have self-confidence and self-respect.

15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I was really young I wanted to be a professional athlete, and through my teenage years I wanted to be an architect. Being an engineer in a civil field isn’t too far off!

16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?

I have skydived from an airplane and I can say that all I could think was how exhilarating it was and how happy I was to be falling from the sky…I only wished it could last longer!

Employee Spotlight: Emily Belisle

Photo of Emily Belisle for Employee Spotlight with her featured in the desert

Emily Belisle – Civil Engineer & Aspiring World Traveler

1. What drew you to Hoyle Tanner?

I knew a few employees here at Hoyle Tanner from my graduating UNH class and had heard good things. When I was searching for a new job, the Portsmouth office had a job posting out for my level in the area, so it was a no brainer to apply. After my interview, I knew that I’d enjoy working with the people in Portsmouth.

2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?

That the people you work with is one of the, if not the, most important component contributing to how much you enjoy your work.

3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle Tanner?

My favorite time of year to work at Hoyle Tanner is the summer. That is when the construction projects are in full swing, and I can get a little bit of time out in the field.

4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on?

Currently the coolest thing I am working on right now is a COVID-19 memorial garden. The project involves a walkway and garden through the woods that leads to the Solstice Stone. The Solstice Stone is a giant stone cut in half and positioned just so the sun beam at solar noon on the solstices will shine right down the center.

5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?

The best thing that happened to me this week is my discovery of portable extra monitors. They plug right into your laptops UBS port and are the size of a notebook. Now I can work from anywhere once I buy one!

6. How many different states have you lived in?

I have only lived in one state, New Hampshire.

7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I would eat Tuscan chicken pasta. Chicken, spinach, sundried tomatoes all in a parmesan cream sauce over whatever pasta you like, it’s delicious.

8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?

I don’t have a pet, but I do have a plant my sister bought me. I have managed to keep it alive for seven months so far, it is a spathiphyllum.

9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?

Dunbarton, NH was home to John Stark – “The hero of Bennington” for his service as the Battle of Bennington in 1777 during the revolutionary war. There’s a statue of him next to the town library that is dressed up for all of the holidays every year.

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  • Visit at least one of the 7 Wonders of the World.
  • Live abroad for a while. Nowhere specific, just not the US.
  • Really learn to speak another language, not just the greetings.

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island:

  • My kindle
  • Sunscreen
  • Wifi hot spot (so I can download more books)

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?

Reliability

13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?

I still have my Uggs from high school, so those are probably the oldest thing I have around. They even came back in style this year after nine years.

14. Words to live by? Favorite quote? Why?

“Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.” – Arthur Balfour

I like this quote because it reminds me not to take life too seriously.

15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be a lawyer up until I was a sophomore in high school, but I figured out how much school that took. Then I decided on Environmental Engineer, although I didn’t really know what that was until I was already in the major in college. I picked environmental engineering because I was an environmentalist and I liked physics – turns out neither of those things are involved much.

16. If you were to skydive from an airplane, what would you think about on the way down?

Probably trying to remember to breathe.

Employee Spotlight: Robby Moon

Employee Spotlight featured image of Robby Moon, Airport Engineer, and his brother

Robby Moon – Airport Engineer & Great Brother

1. What drew you to Hoyle Tanner?

My former supervisor had worked in aviation and hearing about what he did, drew me into the aviation field. One of my peers had recommended Hoyle Tanner because they had an aviation group.

2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here? (Please elaborate your answer)

I’ve learned a lot about engineering, so I can’t choose just one thing. But, for the lunch hour, I’ve learned that at the Gyro Spot on Elm Street, ordering the chicken burrito with sauce on the side because sauce in the burrito makes the tortilla soggy.

3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle Tanner & why?

Summer is my favorite time of the year to work at Hoyle Tanner because that is when projects are under construction. I travel a lot and get to see a lot of really cool places during the construction season.

4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on, and why?

The coolest thing I am working on is finding the required soil filter area for Pittsfield Municipal Airport in Maine. Dealing with soil filters and drainage is something new for me.

5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?

I went to Disney World and met my brother and his family!

6. How many different states have you lived in?

Three states: New York, Maine and New Hampshire

7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

The spicy chicken sandwich from Chick-fil-A

8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?

I currently do not have any pets, but I used to have a dog named Wolfie. I named him Wolfie because he looked like a wolf.

9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?

The Treaty of Portsmouth that ended the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-1905 was signed in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

10. What are three things still left on your bucket list?

  1. See the Eiffel Tower
  2. Go to a Brad Paisley concert
  3. Own a house

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island

  1. Fishing pole
  2. Lighter
  3. Knife

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?

Integrity

13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?

My dad’s AC/DC vinyl records that are about 35-years-old.

14. Words to live by? Favorite quote? Why?

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky. I find this quote inspiring because it shows that you can’t succeed unless you try.

15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

I wanted to be a NBA player.

16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?

I would probably be in too much shock to have any thoughts.

Giving Back: The Collegiate Experience from the Front of the Classroom

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One of the most important, challenging, and rewarding aspects of the civil engineering curriculum at a college or university is the senior capstone project, or senior project. A “culminating experience” or capstone project is a required component of an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc. (ABET) accredited civil engineering curriculum – but beyond that it provides a student with perhaps their first near-real-world experience of interaction with a client, project owner, community, or others outside of their typical academic world.

Typically students will be assigned to small teams, assigned a project (real or hypothetical), and then taught basic project management, design, and project delivery techniques to work their way through iterative solutions for presentation to their “client.” Each university may handle the details of their capstone program a little differently, but in essence, the students act as an engineering team managing and designing a project as if they were a consulting engineering firm hired by a project owner.

Hoyle Tanner is proud to be heavily involved in capstone programs of schools nearby to our several offices and find that helping to shape our team members of tomorrow to be incredibly rewarding. Being involved in these programs provides many benefits to our team members including sharing knowledge, networking, and the pride of giving back to the universities that provided us with the foundations for our careers. The students benefit by learning how the engineering industry works, establishing real-world engineering contacts that they may be able to leverage for future employment, and the accomplishment of utilizing their educational background to perform on a real-world project. It’s a win-win-win for the industry, the students, and the university.

Many of our professionals have been involved in numerous capstone programs over many years. Some examples include:

  • Matthew Low, PE, Director of Engineering Operations is in his second academic year serving as Adjunct Faculty at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and instructing UNH’s Introduction to Project Planning and Design class. He has been involved in many aspects of the UNH civil engineering program for years including awarding scholarships, and serving on the Civil Engineering Advisory Board, but the capstone program is providing him with the most direct ability to make a positive impact on a student-by-student basis.
  • Wilbur Mathurin, PE, Senior Project Manager, recently completed his fifth year as Adjunct Faculty at the University of Central Florida (UCF) instructing their Capstone Design class. Wilbur wanted to get involved to make a real difference because he believes there is real value to the students in weaving real world experience into their academic journey. He enjoys showing them how what they have learned over their four years is applied at the  project level.
  • Hoyle Tanner has sponsored senior projects for the UNH capstone class six times over the last seven years for project teams including bridge and airport projects providing hands-on mentoring as the “client” for many aspiring engineers. Hoyle Tanner’s engineers involved in these projects have included Josif Bicja, PE; Katelyn Welch, EIT; Jillian Semprini, PE; Kayla Hampe, PE; Nicole Crawford, PE; and Bob Furey, PE, to name a few.
  • Ed Weingartner, Senior Technical Bridge Engineer, is currently working for a second consecutive year as a capstone project mentor at his alma mater the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. With over 30 years of intense bridge engineering experience on complicated structures, Ed is thrilled to be able to pass along what he has learned to the students so that they will be better-prepared when they embark on their careers.
  • For the last four years, several engineers  from our Burlington, Vermont office have been involved in the University of Vermont’s (UVM) capstone program by being judges, providing feedback, and mentoring. It is a great way for our local team of professionals to support the next group of engineers in northern Vermont.
  • Jennie Auster, Associate and Senior Environmental Engineer, spoke at a graduate seminar in October 2021 at UVM. She presented on how engineers help communities solve wastewater treatment problems and have a unique opportunity to be “boots on the ground” environmental stewards. She discussed a diversity of projects and the dynamic blend of hydraulics, chemistry and biology that goes into finding solutions for our communities.

We are glad to give back to our local universities and share our expertise for the benefit of our future engineering leaders and encourage our peers to do the same. Reach out and find out how you can help your local civil engineering education program – you’ll be happy you did.

It’s National Intern Day!

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The college experience can really shape your mind and prepare you for the future. It has the ability to broaden your experiences and encourage you to seek new opportunities like high school never could. It helps that there’s a lot more choice. With that choice, though, comes the responsibility of deciding what is best for you and your future. For some, that means studying abroad to better learn a language. For others, it means getting as many internship opportunities as possible.

The word internship can draw up visions of being sent for coffee and unpaid, long hours. For many, though, that isn’t the correct picture (at least not anymore). At Hoyle Tanner, we’re proud to offer internships that deliver a wide range of project experience and field work. Our interns get to work on projects from multiple disciplines within our firm and get the experience to work on reports, visit sites, assist with construction oversight, and experience working in an office setting.

This year, I asked two of our interns about their experiences as part of the Hoyle Tanner Internship Program this summer.

Haven Rose is entering his senior year of college at Florida State University. He’s joining us for the summer in our Burlington, Vermont office, working with both our Bridge and Municipal Engineering groups. His favorite part about the internship has been the field work so far, closely followed by the kind and uplifting coworker environment.

“Jon Olin and I went to do a survey of a dock that’s falling apart in Vergennes,” he said. “We went to talk to the Town Administrator, took measurements, and surveyed the structure. Now we’re writing a report about the damage. It’s fun field work that’s interesting and unique, and hopefully helps Vergennes in the future.”

Haven prefers the field work, so his experiences doing resident project representative work overseeing construction and his trip to Vergennes have been the highlights. He also listed things he’s learned, from construction site operations, to understanding how to interact in an office setting, to working more efficiently. One of the skills he’s developed most, though, is technical writing.

“My technical language has developed quite a bit,” Haven said. “I’ve surpassed the high school and college-sounding reports, and now it’s the next level of professionalism.”

Our other intern, Nick Eagan, joins us before he begins his master’s transportation program in the fall. While Haven has worked to learn about the profession and field work, Nick has already had previous internships, so his favorite experiences are more about the people he has worked with.

“It’s a hard question, what my favorite thing is,” Nick said. “Probably working with everyone and meeting new people. I started back in June before people started coming back to the office, so now that my department has people in it, that’s been my favorite thing.”

Nick also said he’s been learning new things everyday with our group. Previously, Nick interned at a Department of Transportation and interned in the field doing construction work. His experience with us, he said, has been very worth it. As for what he’d tell other interns about working here, this is what he had to say:

“There are really nice people here. The work environment and the community – probably one of the nicest positions I’ve been in.” We appreciate our interns and all they can teach us. Interested in interning or applying for a job at Hoyle Tanner? Visit our careers page! We’d love to bring you on board.

Employee Spotlight: Christina Slosek

Christina Slosek Marketing Coordinator and Sunscreen Queen

1.  What drew you to Hoyle, Tanner?
 I saw the president’s message and thought the video demonstrated a great company culture and work environment that I wanted to be a part of. I graduated with my marketing degree and two weeks later I started my career in my field of interest.
2. What’s something invaluable you’ve learned here?
Communication – I’ve learned how important clear and concise communication is. There are so many different communication styles and it is important to learn them.
3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner?
Autumn – Project sites are beautiful to photograph with the beautiful foliage. When I get the chance, I like to be out in the field in the fall.
4. What’s the coolest thing you are working on?
We’ve recently incorporated a new photo editing software program, and it’s been fascinating learning the latest technology.
5. What’s the best thing that’s happened to you so far this week?
I spent the weekend at the beach with my family for my brother’s and my birthday!!
6. How many different states have you lived in?
Just two, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
7. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?
I eat eggs almost every morning for breakfast, so my head says “eggs” but my heart says “pizza.”
8. What kind of pet do you have and how did you choose to name it?
I have two pets, a black cat named Callie after a character from a Pete the Cat book. I think the character was a Calico cat, though. I have a golden retriever Molly, and my husband and I just liked the name. At the time we thought it was original, now – not so much.
9. What is a fun or interesting fact about your hometown?
I grew up in a small town in Massachusetts but I consider where I live now my hometown. It’s also home to Alex Preston, the third-place winner of the 13th season of American Idol!
10. What are three things still left on your bucket list
1. Become Fluent in Spanish
2. Visit Machu Picchu
3. See the Northern Lights

11. Name three items you’d take with you to a desert island
1. Sunscreen
2. Sunscreen
3. Sunscreen

12. What characteristic do you admire most in others?
Grit – The people who tough face adversity and fight through it are so admirable. Haven’t you ever seen those videos of people whose doctors told them they would never walk again and watch their journey of how they fought every day and succeeded? I mean…tears!  
13. How old is the oldest item in your closet?
I have a sewing kit (which I don’t use) that my husband’s grandmother gave me, and I think its around 40 years old. I also have a sweatshirt (that I still wear) from college, about 17 years old.
14. Words to live by? Favorite Quote?
There are so many its hard to choose! Recently I heard, “Good players inspire themselves, great players inspire others.” (- John Wooden) I thought it inspiring, especially because it’s true on and off the court.
15. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
If you asked 7-year-old me, she would have said an architect. I used to draw plans on graph paper and color-coded the rooms: red for the kitchen and blue for the bedrooms. When I got a little older I also wanted to be a sports photographer.
16. If you were to skydive from an airplane what would you think about on the way down?
I’d probably panic until my parachute opened, and then I would probably think about where I would land.

Career Reflections: Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in STEM

6 images in a blue box with various female engineers working and text says Celebrating Women in STEM Careers

Every February 11th, we celebrate International Day of Women and Girls in STEM. This day comes with the reminder that young girls are not always encouraged to pursue careers in math and science-centric fields, but we’re here to remind everyone that these careers are open to anyone who is bold enough to challenge stereotypes that could otherwise keep them away.

We asked a few of the amazing women who work at Hoyle, Tanner what they would tell their younger selves about becoming an engineer. Their advice:


Marisa DiBiaso is a Senior Civil Engineer and has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 8 years. She specializes in land development and site design work. If she could speak to her younger self, she’d advocate for reaching out to others sooner:

“I would tell my younger self to seek out more mentors for guidance on different skillsets and general career advice. There are a lot of people that enjoy mentoring, and I’ve benefitted from some really great mentors over the course of my career. I wish I had connected with more people sooner. I’d also tell myself that while working hard and doing quality work are really important, you shouldn’t need to work harder than everyone else to be respected. Finally, speak up and ask questions. Sometimes we are afraid of revealing that we don’t understand something, but often times asking a good question can show you are engaged and thinking ahead. You aren’t expected to know everything!”


Emily Belisle is an entry-level Civil Engineer who is in her first year of employment with Hoyle, Tanner (and worked with another firm previously). Her answer puts the career into perspective:

“I would tell my younger self that becoming an engineer is no harder than becoming anything else. As long as it is what you want to do, it’ll be worth it.”


Payton Borza has been working in our Florida office for 6 years as an Airport Engineer. If she could talk to her younger self, it wouldn’t have anything to do with being female or male – instead, it would have to do with following your own inner calling.

“There are so many different types of engineers and different fields you can choose! Spend time thinking about which ones interest you the most.”


Suzy Sheppard one of our talented Senior Airport Engineers and has built her career in her 25 years at Hoyle, Tanner. To her younger self, she’d encourage patience:

“Growing up I believed that all my career goals would be achieved by 30. Engineering is a dynamic field that is always changing and there’s always something new and exciting to discover. I would tell my younger self to prepare for a lifetime of learning and growing. You may reach your intended goals at 30 or you may not, but there are always new goals to be made.”


Katelyn Welch has been building her career at Hoyle, Tanner for the past 6 years as a Structural Engineer, designing bridges and working on construction sites. Her advice is not one of regrets but one of welcomed lessons.

“Don’t be afraid to fail. Engineering is a career where you learn just as much from your mistakes as your successes.”


Rychel Gibson has been an Environmental Engineer at Hoyle, Tanner for 5 years, building on her career with projects in asset management and water purity. To her younger self, she’d encourage bravery.

“Don’t be intimidated. You have the brains and the drive. You can do this.”


Monika Ingalls is a Civil Engineer who has been with Hoyle, Tanner for 2 years working in our Burlington, Vermont office. She would warn her younger self not to sweat the small stuff.

“I would tell my younger self to remember to stay focused on my goals and to not worry about inconsequential matters. I would also say to not worry so much about being the only girl in the room because the world is changing and more women are joining the workforce every year!  And lastly, I would remind myself to pay attention in structural analysis more often!”


Nicole Crawford has been an Airport Engineer at Hoyle, Tanner for 7 years where she’s not only been doing calculations, but has also been a mentor to others. Her advice comes with a gentle instruction.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself, and don’t compare yourself to anyone else. You have your own set of strengths and weaknesses, and the most important thing you will learn is how to evaluate them for yourself.  Improve where you need to but advocate for yourself using your strengths….and trust me, you have some. Don’t be afraid to let go of what doesn’t click.”


If we can learn anything from these women, it’s not to shy away from a challenge, and not to be intimidated by a career path in science, technology, engineering or mathematics!

Right-of-Way Acquisition in 7 Steps

Right-of-Way Process Graphic with arrows

Right-of-Way acquisitions in civil engineering encompass a lot of detail. According to Betsy Bosiak, land acquisition specialist at Hoyle, Tanner, it can take a little under five years to learn everything there is to know about Right-of-Way.

Betsy has shared her knowledge to answer common questions about the acquisition process. For those who may not know what Right-of-Way is, it’s the act of acquiring land or easements to complete a project. It could be anything from a homeowner’s land that needs drainage services near a road to getting new land to build a medical office. Each state has to follow certain federal guidelines, but the individual states do have specific criteria for Right-of-Way processes.

Betsy has shared about the acquisition process in New Hampshire (one she tried not to get into too much detail about because of its sheer power to overwhelm). In 7 steps, here’s a breakdown of she shared:

Before Final Design:

  1. Know the basics. First and foremost, Right-of-Way acquisition is considered a part of the final design process, depending on the size of the project. Yet it’s also important to realize that many items occur concurrent with plan development. The types of Right-of-Way are Easement and Fee. Easement acquisition is when the property owner gives easements to allow the use of land. Today, however, the most popular acquisition is fee-based; land is purchased for the project to be completed.Types of Right-of-Way
  2. Determine what’s already there. It’s vital to determine the existing Right-of-Way by checking existing plans, historic documents, property surveys, deeds, and existing ground conditions.
  3. Make a plan & be specific. To actually acquire land for project use, there needs to be a project scope, preliminary design, final design, and recording all plans.
  4. Determine the type of acquisition: Fee Taking (buying the land), Temporary Easement (using it for the time of construction), or Permanent Easement (the land is yours forever, but the State or Municipality has easement rights).
  5. Explain the impacts. You actually need to explain to the landowner the intended impacts to the property. Public meetings, meetings with officials, and meetings with landowners are a critical part of the process. As Betsy suggests, keep records of what everyone says so that there’s no confusion later in the process.

During Final Design:

  1. Determine appraisals. Even after the landowner meetings, the land is still not ready to be built upon. In fact, the next step in the detailed acquisition process is Land Value Appraisals. Once that’s complete, a written offer is made to the landowner. If the landowner does not agree, it’s back to the negotiation table.Right-of-Way Appraisal Graphic with 4 types
  2. Acquire the needed property rights. The property owner has agreed to the written compensation. It’s time to prepare the deed or easement document, and with a notary, sign the document. Save all written records and notes and make copies of each. The land is officially available for project construction.

The Right-of-Way acquisition process is no simple matter (though it was explained in layman’s terms here); and it can take anywhere from 1-6 months depending on acquisition complexity. Betsy recommends documenting files for each landowner and making multiple copies of these documents for reference.

Have Right-of-Way questions? Talk to the specialist: Betsy Bosiak.

What about that Tuition Reimbursement Program?

Colorful diamond graphic with photos of participants

One of the benefits of being a Hoyle, Tanner employee is the tuition reimbursement program. Eligible employees may begin participation in the program six months after their hire date. Cost of tuition, books and required course materials are reimbursed based upon final grades.

The purpose of tuition reimbursement is to “encourage employees, through financial assistance, to further their education in courses that will be of benefit to both the Employee and the Company,” as it states in the company policy.

This year, we’ve collected responses from six employees who have or are taking advantage of this policy. We asked them what it has been like to have the financial support to continue their education.

It has been a confidence booster that is for sure,” says Deb Coon, administrative assistant for our bridge department and environmental coordinator. “I have a lot more confidence in myself than I had in the past. The other thing is I feel it has sharpened my analytical skills.  Being in school and having to constantly learn and study new things has had a trickle down effect to work. It has changed the way I read and absorb information which in turn has resulted in me doing a better job at what I do. Without the reimbursement plan I’m not sure I would have gone back at all. Having the reimbursement plan was a big part of my decision to pursue this degree.” 

“I had always wanted to start my master’s and one day I just felt like it was time,” says Nahal Namazi, accountant. “Having this program available to me has made me very grateful and was a major reason for deciding to continue my education. It allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and start something that would benefit me and Hoyle, Tanner.”

“I completed my Master’s in Business Administration – Organizational Management in May of 2019,” says Rychel Gibson, PE, environmental engineer. “The reimbursement program allowed me to take courses in rapid succession as opposed to spreading them out when I could afford them. It made it much easier to complete the program and move on.

“My coursework gave me a much deeper knowledge base on the business side of engineering. It’s already given me the ability to understand why some decisions are made for the company and it will allow me to be more effective moving forward in my career and being able to make decisions that will be best for myself, my clients, and the company.”

We also interviewed Director of Engineering Operations Matthew Low, PE, Land Development Engineer Marisa DiBiaso, PE and Transportation Engineer Audrey Beaulac, PE to get their perspectives. Check out the video below!

What it means to be the Safety Coordinator at a Small Company

Photo of David Langlais in construction hat and safety vest with article title

We sat down with David Langlais, PE to ask him what it’s like to be on the Safety Committee for a small company. David has worked in the construction field and has also been the Safety Committee Chair before becoming its official coordinator. We asked him what it was like to grow in this position and what it means to him.

What does it mean to be the safety coordinator for a business?

In New Hampshire, each Safety Committee within a company is supposed to appoint a person who is going to have current knowledge on safety trends, expectations, et cetera for a company. At Hoyle, Tanner, we call that person the Safety Coordinator. So, I have to have the training, keep up-to-date on policies and procedures in states where we do business, and keep up-to-date with OSHA.

Why do you see a need for this role?

The need is there because we put people out in the field; that’s our biggest risk area. The most dangerous person is the “casual site-visitor” who doesn’t know the changes in the field; is not that familiar with the contractor; not used to sites. We’re standing next to traffic, next to heavy equipment, we’re out in the woods by ourselves near animals and insects and poisonous plants. These are the types of things employees may not think about when they go out in the field.

You’ve been the safety committee chairperson and you’ve really championed and been the voice for safety in our company – bringing it more to the forefront of peoples’ minds. What started you on that path?

Way back – 2009 or 2010, I was on one of the NHDOT construction projects on the I-93 corridor. Someone had questioned the safety vest I was wearing and made a comment about it not being the right type. I think at that point I brought it to the attention of Woody Wilson [one of our most senior Resident Project Representatives], I think, and asked him about it. The person on the site who commented on my vest wasn’t known for being the most serious person, so I couldn’t really tell. Then I looked into more about the vests and how there are different types of safety vests – there are different types for being in the woods, being in traffic. So really it was a collection of things that happened that got me scratching my head, and wondering what are we really training safety-wise here and what should we be aware of that we’re not?

In September of 2014 I was invited to not only join the Safety Committee, but also be the Chair. At that point the committee hadn’t met in 2 years. I believe the Board of Directors and specifically Frank Wells had recommended that I chair the committee because of my construction background, and to bring life back into the committee.

What are some of the things you’ve accomplished?

  1. As a committee, we basically reformatted the whole way we think about safety in the company. We follow all the rules set forth in Lab 600 from the NH Bureau of Labor, which stem from RSA-281-A:64. The State requires that we have a “Joint Loss Management Committee”, and we call ours the Safety Committee (you can rename it).
  2. We’ve reinvigorated the committee – We didn’t have a real presence within the company before. Once we looked at how we’re supposed to organize it based on Lab 600, we saw we had a lot of things we weren’t doing. We discovered we needed a Health & Safety Manual – we didn’t have one, or one that we could find. We had some of the elements but nothing to the level of what we’ve developed. That’s been the biggest thing we’ve accomplished.
  3. We’ve also made sure field personnel are represented. They are our biggest risk and we need to make sure they have the right equipment and training to do their job safely.
  4. We assisted the Benefits Committee in developing the PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Benefit Program, which reimburses employees for certain PPE items that are not required to be provided by the company. 

What are the ultimate goals or principles you’re working towards?

Our ultimate goal is to ensure safety is a part of our everyday lives within the company. The next thing we want to roll out are job hazard analysis sheets. The purpose is to anticipate hazards in the field and be prepared for them before you go out there. That way, we get people trained and get them the tools they need to anticipate safety concerns and be prepared to mitigate them. And not just the full-time field personnel. The hazard analysis sheets apply to everyone – young engineers on bridges. Roadside investigations for preliminary design. Joanne [an environmental coordinator] flagging wetlands. Anyone who leaves the office and goes into the “field” wherever that may be.

The other goal is to incorporate safety into how we plan and estimate our projects – like we do for Quality Assurance / Quality Control. Integrate it into our process.

Given the current situation with COVID, how has your role changed – or how has it not changed?

I’ve become busier [laughs]. We get updated stuff on COVID every day. Trying to keep ahead of what the requirements are is a challenge. I get a lot of info in Massachusetts being that I’m active in ACEC-MA in their Health and Safety Forum (co-chair).

Abbie Goodman [Executive Director of ACEC-MA] called me on Friday with some questions regarding what Massachusetts is implementing for construction for COVID. I also talked to Abbie [on Monday] morning. Basically, the information about COVID trickles down from the governor to our clients to us and our consultant peers. They want to continue with construction – it’s listed as an essential service- but we also have to follow CDC guidelines. Each state also has different rules with regard to construction. In Vermont, construction is not considered essential unless it’s directly related to helping with the virus. Some contractors are not allowed to leave states now if they live in Vermont but work in New Hampshire, which is an issue we’ve been dealing with.

And who’s essential and who’s not? And if we’re essential, which rules do we follow? Those are the kinds of things we’ve been thinking about. Especially now, with construction season upon us.

Are you mostly worrying about construction safety during COVID, or everything at once?

For me, it’s construction stuff because the company COVID-19 team is worrying about the other pieces. How do we build confidence in our employees that their environment is safer than they think? How do we verify that our field personnel are okay before they go out in the field? Also, as I said before, it’s different between New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Massachusetts set out rules specifically addressing going out into the field during this pandemic, but New Hampshire said it’s up to each business to police themselves. So unless NHDOT comes out with something that says “here’s how you have to arrive to our site,” we’re still working on this.

Is the company doing anything different (aside from working from home) now that we’re in this situation?

We’re handling it the way the CDC recommends.

What does your day-to-day look like right now?

I’m managing a couple of projects but aside from that I’m getting interrupted by COVID-related information. Every few days new information comes in. So right now, it’s a matter of trying to see what the latest and greatest is so we can make sure we’re following it and that our employees are prepared for it.

Is there anything that intimidates or overwhelms you about being safety coordinator?

I would say that I embrace the position. I’d say if anything, I’d like to have more training and have safety more prominent in our company. Part of that has to do with the size of our company. I communicate with peers in ACEC who have much larger companies, so their initiatives dwarf what we do. Their top safety personnel have different backgrounds. So that part gets a little overwhelming. Or not overwhelming, but I wish we were there. Don’t get me wrong, we’re safe, and we’re doing what we need to for state compliance, and we put smart people in the field. We don’t do a lot of labor-related, safety-type stuff. We don’t have field crews that do labor which makes it a lot easier (like drilling crews or survey crews) – more of that background than office background. Some of that can be more difficult to manage. So, no, I’m not overwhelmed by my role as much as I am of the information that I’d like to put out.

Why you do keep showing up for this role, personally?

I think part of it goes back to the training aspect. The person who’s designated by the committee to be the coordinator has to have a certain level of training. When this originally came up, I received OSHA training for construction safety. So really, I’m the most trained person in the company when it comes to this. And again, we’re not quite where I’d like us to be, and no one else currently has the training to take my place. I’m happy to do it, and I push for it because I feel like I’ve got more work to do in this role.

Would you call yourself a safety enthusiast?

I would say I’ve grown into being a safety enthusiast. I was recognized as having the experience and then the question was, do I have the willingness? And the answer was yes. So now there are aspects of safety I’m very enthusiastic about. I think the toughest part [about being asked to make it more active] is balancing the focus between office personnel and field personnel. So, I’ve found that I rely on other committee members to worry about office personnel, and I worry about the field personnel.

This role has also helped me to not take my construction and my safety background for granted. And I think that’s something we kind of did as a company; we trusted field employees to have the safety knowledge. The full-time ones probably did, but it’s really the part-timers who are more concerning. What’s their experience? What’s their knowledge? Are they aware of their surroundings?

Has your enthusiasm encouraged anyone else? If not enthusiasm, what would it be?

Absolutely. If not mine, then the committee’s. The fact that we were able to gather people to work on the manual and the people who have stayed on the committee. We’ve rotated in and out a few people. We’ve got our quarterly Bee Safe newsletter; we’ve been participating in health and safety week in August which is something we didn’t do before but it’ll be our second or third year this year. I’ve conducted a couple trainings now; I’d like to do more. Gotten more people trained in the OSHA 10-hour course which is big. It’s something we’re trying to get field personnel to have. Building in small procedures and practices – yeah it’s definitely paying off. Not as fast as I’d like, but it’s one of the challenges of being a small business.

Questions about safety? Want to learn from the best? Reach out to David Langlais, PE.

Volunteers: Making a Difference for our Children

Manchester Police ACERT Teddy Bear drive

Here at Hoyle, Tanner, we are continually impressed by the dedication and hard work of our employees – not just in the office, but in the community.

One of the benefits of working at Hoyle, Tanner is the volunteer program: Employees can spend 8 paid hours at a charity or cause they care about. Since the beginning of 2019, we have had 11 employees volunteer time at many different organizations; total volunteered hours are up to 50 that are documented.

But it’s not just this year that our employees have been exemplary citizens in their communities. In 2017, we had 22 employees volunteer or donate to more than 15 causes. In 2018, we documented 148.5 hours that people spent volunteering at organizations outside of the office per the volunteer time benefit.

Over the past months, a great concentration of our volunteering efforts has gone towards helping children. From kindergarten to college, our employees have worked with children and students on varying levels. Below is a snapshot of all the ways Hoyle, Tanner employees have helped our youth this year:
Hoyle, Tanner employees pictured with students in various volunteer efforts

  • Nicole Crawford worked with a group of UNH students to expose them to engineering on an airport project. Aside from providing students with hands-on experience before they graduate, this project highlighted one of New Hampshire’s largest recent aviation infrastructure projects and gave them some insight into working on complicated, multi-disciplined, and customer-focused airfield projects.
  • Audrey Beaulac, PE, CPSWQ and Matthew Low, PE went to Middle School at Parkside in Manchester to listen to an inspired group of 7th graders present their projects on stormwater treatment. The projects were focused on improving water quality around their school knowing that the school’s parking and recreational areas will be upgraded this summer based upon Hoyle, Tanner’s recent design.
  • Bow High School has a program that allows students a day out of the classroom to job shadow. Kyle visited our headquarters on May 23 to job shadow each of our technical disciplines in the engineering industry. He had the opportunity to meet with eight different engineers to learn about their day-to-day work.
  • After a public plea by the local police department, Hoyle, Tanner employees donated teddy bears to the Manchester NH Police Department. Officers keep the stuffed animals in their cars so that when the Adverse Childhood Experiences Response Team (ACERT) respond to difficult situations, they can give children something to comfort them.
  • On April 24, Dave Langlais, PE, volunteered at the Sophomore Career Expo at Tyngsboro High School. He spoke to students about the different types of jobs that are available in the engineering industry. Dave then illustrated his own personal career path, training programs, and education as well as how he has become a respected, well-liked leader of our Massachusetts office.
    • On March 14, Dave Langlais served as the 5th grade judge for the school-wide science fair where the students present projects that they have worked on over the past couple of months. They are judged on use of the scientific method, presentation, originality, and knowledge and understanding of the research they did to support their project. Projects covered a wide variety of topics including corrosion, teeth, kinetic energy, evaporation, Vitamin C, and fertilizer to name just a few.
  • On March 22, one of our junior aviation engineers, Taylor Kirk, visited his former high school. Biddeford Regional Center of Technology -Engineering & Architectural Design welcomed him back as he spoke with engineering and architectural design students. Taylor presented exciting aviation projects he has worked on over the past year to inspire students to take an interest in aviation engineering.

We are committed to bettering our communities through volunteering. We are proud of our employees for their interest and guidance as we secure a brighter future for younger generations.

Are you ready for the new NH MS4 Stormwater Permit?

Pond with lily pads

EPA Region 1 issued the revised New Hampshire Small MS4 General Permit on January 18, 2017. Affecting 60 New Hampshire communities, this new permit will make a significant change in stormwater management compliance when it takes effect on July 1, 2018.

This new permit imposes more stringent regulations for communities’ compliance in regards to how to manage stormwater.

Many community leaders have expressed concerns that the overlap with other regulatory requirements and the cost of meeting those requirements may not effectively achieve the desired results, and they are looking for integrated cost-effective approaches to meeting the new regulatory requirements.

Governor Chris Sununu has publicly spoken against the new MS4 permits, saying that they would severely impact municipalities and taxpayers, noting that “additional mandates contained within the new MS4 permit will prove themselves overly burdensome and enormously expensive for many of New Hampshire’s communities.”

If you live in community in Southern New Hampshire, chances are that this change affects you in some way. To see a list of affected communities, please visit the EPA website.

Hoyle, Tanner has experienced staff who are knowledgeable about asset management, SRF loan pre-application preparation, and MS4 permitting.

John Jackman, PE, asset management specialist

 

John Jackman, PE, is Hoyle, Tanner’s premier Asset Management Specialist. Although the CWSRF money cannot be directly used to support the MS4 program, using the asset management program to support documentation of municipal assets will be helpful in setting up a strategy for compliance related to the October 1, 2018 required filing date of the MS4 permit’s Notice of Intent.

 

Michael Trainque, PE, stormwater specialist

 

Michael Trainque, PE, has 39 years of environmental engineering experience.  Michael has been integrally involved in developing model stormwater regulations, identification, assessment and dry-weather sampling and testing of stormwater outfalls, as well as other aspects of stormwater management.

 

marshall

Heidi Marshall, PE has been assisting industries and municipalities with NPDES compliance since the 1990s when EPA published the initial stormwater requirements and can assist you with preparation of the Notice of Intent, developing or updating the Stormwater Management Plan, and can provide assistance with the required follow-up actions.

 

Hoyle, Tanner is equipped to help communities that are affected by MS4 regulation changes. We are immediately available to help with pre-application funding, notice of intent preparation for October, and setting up action plans to comply with MS4 requirements.

Let Hoyle, Tanner guide your community into a future with cleaner water. Contact John Jackman, PE for asset management application assistance, or for MS4 assistance, contact Michael Trainque, PE or Heidi Marshall, PE.

Drones: Enhancing Safety & Expanding the Aviation Community

Flying Drone

Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), or as they are more commonly known as, drones, are changing inspection and construction methods and expanding the aviation community. Drones are the fastest growing segment of aviation. Currently, they are being used by public safety officials, realtors, farmers, engineers and of course by aviation hobbyists across the country. Depending on your perspective, drones are an emerging aerial solution or an impending aerial disaster just waiting to happen.

A major concern of the FAA regulators are the hazards of drones and manned aircraft in the same airspace. On December 12, 2017, Barrie Barber from Cox Newspapers published “FAA: Drones more deadly than birds.” In the article, Barber writes the “FAA has guidelines for building aircraft to withstand bird strikes of a certain weight, but tougher requirements do not exist specifically for drone collisions.” While it might seem obvious that a drone could do some damage, the impact damage of a bird and drone of similar weight are significantly different.

“The research found heavier, stiffer components, such as a drone motor, battery or a camera, could cause more structural damage to an aircraft than birds of the same weight and size,” said Kiran D’Souza, an Ohio State University assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.

While pilots have reported many drone sightings to the FAA, the FAA reports only one incident in the United States of a drone striking a Military Black Hawk helicopter in October 2017. In fact, the Unmanned Aircraft Safety Team (UAST) Drone Sightings Working Group released a new report on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 3,714 drone sightings reports collected by flight crews, air traffic controllers and citizens from November 2015 to March 2017. The report found that only a small percentage of drone reports pose a safety risk, while the vast majority are simply sightings.

Despite growing pains employing drones, many industries and public agencies are adding them as tools and developing workflows to effectively employ them. Stamford Connecticut police Sgt. Andrew Gallagher did an interview for the Fairfield Citizen and explained how his police department has used drones to document and analyze accident scenes, conduct searches and track suspects. Fire Departments are now using drones with infrared cameras to quickly view fire scenes from different angles to best direct the crew response.

“I have stood on more fire trucks than most firemen looking for an overhead shot. We are always looking for something to stand on,” Gallagher says in the article. Drones provide different aerial shots that can give intelligence about where a person or accident could be – in real time, without putting lives in danger.

In addition to first responder use and Amazon’s idea to deliver packages via the airways, drones have provided opportunities in the professional planning and engineering field.

Evan McDougal, Airport Planning Manager with Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc., is an FAA-certified manned aircraft pilot as well as an FAA Section 107 Remote Pilot. McDougal says that drones are an inexpensive data collection solution when airports have tree obstructions that have grown into the runway approach surfaces. These obstructions can limit the ability of pilots to use instrument approaches at night and in some cases the obstructions cause the FAA to increase the cloud ceiling or visibility requirements or limit how low a pilot can descend on approach to a runway. Many runway ends in Maine are not available at night due to known tree obstructions.

McDougal believes drones could be part of the solution.

Drones can quickly capture highly accurate aerial imagery that can be analyzed using photogrammetry software to identify the boundaries of tree canopy penetrating the imaginary (but very real) instrument or visual approach surface. An example of the typical results can be seen in this effort. https://www.dropbox.com/s/iw4vabrcszm5w1s/B21_17%20End%20P4D%20Ani.mp4?dl=0

How it works: while following an autonomous flight plan the drone takes hundreds of georeferenced high definition photos. Photogrammetry software accurately stitches these photos together by matching thousands of key points within adjacent photos. This creates a full orthomosaic of the entire surveyed area and produces a very accurate three-dimensional model or point cloud that can be measured and examined thereby allowing engineers and airport owners to see exactly where runway obstructions exist.

This is but one use for a drone at airports. The technology is evolving very quickly and is limited only by our imagination.

NEC/AAAE Panelist Evan McDougal: Opportunities and Regulatory Challenges with UAS Operations Within 5 Miles of your Airport

Man holding drone in a field

At the Annual Airports Conference in Pennsylvania, Evan McDougal, CM was a panellist and discussed the challenges and opportunities that sUAS technology creates for airport management. The continuing education session entitled “UAS Operations Within 5 Miles of your Airport. Restrict, Support, & Permit” explored the use of the rapidly evolving sUAS technology from the legal, airport management, commercial operator and regulatory perspective.

Evan is the Manager of Hoyle, Tanner’s Airport Planning and sUAS services. In 2016, Mr. McDougal acquired his Part 107 Remote Pilot Certificate, complimenting his existing manned fixed wing and rotary pilot certifications. Hoyle, Tanner has four certified sUAS operators and provides these services in many locations.

During the panel discussion, Evan focused on how commercial operators can use unmanned aerial systems to efficiently collect data and verify approach surfaces, document pre- and post-construction site development and assist with accident documentation. He also discussed the challenges associated with the current authorization process for operating an sUAS in controlled and restricted airspace.

The goal of the conference is to educate attendees on the leadership skills necessary to “plan, develop and execute a safe and efficient regional airport system that satisfies the needs of its constituents with due consideration for economics, environmental compatibility, local property rights, and safeguarding the public investment.”

 

 

Airports Conference event website banner

What Droughts can Teach us about the Importance of Proper Culverts

July 2016 struck New England with an extreme drought and dry weather patterns for an entire year in most of the region. Many people are seeing the drought disappear as heavy rainfall replenishes those dry wells. Showers are taken a little less guiltily.

Yet ironically, the seacoast areas of Maine and (some) of New Hampshire are still considered abnormally dry for this time of year. The drought.gov website says that the percent of dry conditions for the Northeast is a total of less than 10 percent. In general, around 90 percent have no dry conditions at all. Despite this time of year being dryer for the coast, long-term totals actually appear normal.

So, why the pesky persistence with this abnormally dry issue?

“Much of the Northeast remains drought free with the exception of coastal Maine, which has been plagued by below-normal precipitation over the summer,” Deborah Bathke reported in the National Drought Summary for August 8, 2017.

Lack of rainfall may seem relatively insignificant in the engineering world to some. Too much rainfall can cause road erosion, mud slides, sewage overflows, and building floods (among other glorious things). Too little rain? Aside from a crispy lawn, what could go wrong?

Well, for starters, a dry season can mean that ground water levels are low. Low water levels mean that engineered structures, like culverts, don’t work like they are supposed to. Which can lead to problems for an entire ecosystem.

Culverts are a great example. Culverts allow for water passage — such as streams, creeks and brooks — to move under roads. Many aquatic species migrate during their lifetimes, so in order to do that, they need to be able to swim or wade through water freely. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explains that incorrectly engineered or installed dams and culverts can contribute to declining fish populations by not allowing continuous water flow and creating a physical barrier to fish passage. Throughout the watershed, there can be several examples of perched road crossing culverts (where a drop in elevation exists between the end of the culvert and the water body) and culverts that are too narrow, steep or collapsed.

As rain levels increase and droughts are ending, aquatic life has the chance to move more freely through these constricted passageways.

The importance of culverts can be partly attributed to the way the water flows.

culverts

 

The New England states have turned their attention to the importance of designing culverts that are eco-friendly for the past two decades, with regulations in place in each of the five states that require certain levels of flows, both high and low, to be maintained through culverts in order to protect migrating organisms. From an article by the US Fish & Wildlife Service of Alaska comes the challenge to make roads more fish-friendly:

“What’s under our roads should ideally mimic what’s upstream and downstream,” the article says. “This helps ensure a seamless transition for fish passing underneath. … So how wide is wide enough? To answer that, we must understand the stream’s range of flows. A stream gauge that tracks water level and documents flood events over time can help.”

When accurate stream gauge data is not available, particularly for the smaller creeks or brooks, engineers must examine the existing conditions and develop assumptions on flows, typically using hydrologic models that are standard industry practice.

In short, as you drive from place to place during your day, take time to notice the road culverts you pass over. They have an important role in keeping an ecosystem functioning at its best, even under drought conditions.

Volunteering to Make a Difference

Reaching, stepping, buildingblog-stats-graphic-volunteering

We’re proud that members of our team are reaching out, stepping in, and building up the community. Over the past year, Hoyle, Tanner employees — both on their own and representing the company — have volunteered or donated to more than 15 causes. Since August, we’ve had at least 22 of our employees donate time, energy, and resources to causes like the New Hampshire Food Bank, the Elliot Regional Cancer Center, the City of Manchester, and the Granite United Way. We don’t just want to work and live in our community; we want to make it the best it can be.

Uplifting spirits with food security

The New Hampshire Food Bank, a program of Catholic Charities New Hampshire, exists as the only food bank in New Hampshire. The Food Bank gives millions of pounds of food to more than 400 food pantries, homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other partner agencies throughout the state every year. Because of the Food Bank’s efforts, hundreds of thousands of food-insecure residents have access to meals.

Running toward better health – for others

We had our largest group of 14 runners and walkers come out for this year’s Cigna/Elliot Corporate 5K Road Race on Thursday, August 10th. The race supports the Elliot Regional Cancer Center, and with over 6,000 registrants, it is the largest road race in New Hampshire. The Elliot Hospital was the first in New Hampshire to establish a cancer center in 1966. The center is home to surgical, medical and radiation oncologists with state-of-the-art technology to help patients fight cancer.

Living & giving united

After an environmental engineer at Hoyle, Tanner worked on water and sanitation improvements in Haiti five years ago, we continue to look for ways to donate to the community. This year, the goal is to donate money so that the poorest children in Leon (in the Grand’Anse Department in Western Haiti) get to attend school.

Changing through empathy

We know that sometimes… it takes a village. It takes great people coming together to see that others are struggling and offer to help. We’re proud that the Hoyle, Tanner family has so many caring souls — who dedicate part of their paycheck, time, a good ounce of energy — all to help out those in need.

Employee Spotlight: Nicole Crawford

Nicole Crawford, Airport Engineer and HGTV-Enthusiast
  1. What has drawn you to and kept you at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • I was working at a smaller firm before. I wanted to try a larger firm, and I also wanted to do more transportation. So what drew me here was the size, the type of projects, and the team. In a smaller firm, you do much different work. Why I stay here? Probably because I like the team. I wasn’t doing airport engineering before this, but I find airports very interesting.
  2. What’s the most invaluable thing you’ve learned here?
    • Oh gosh, I’ve learned a lot. Working in this position, I get to do both the design work and see the construction phase of the project. I think that’s the most important thing — that I get to see both sides of it.
  3. What’s your favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • Definitely the summer [laughs]. I like the summer. There’s lots of construction projects, which means it’s a little more hectic and there’s a chance to be on site.
  4. If you were a character in a book/movie/tv show, who would you be?
    • Off the top of my head? I guess I would have to say Jason Bourne, because how could you not want to be like him? How could you not want to have a mind like that? But on the other side of that, probably also the main character from Along Came Polly. She’s so laid back and so accepting.
  5. What’s one of your bucket list items?
    • I deliberately do not have a bucket list. Because then I feel like you’re doing something just to do it. I don’t want that to be my focus.
  6. Words you live by? Favorite quote?
    • I like a lot of them. I’d have to look them up, but I think any positive message out there, I like.
  7. If you were to skydive from an airplane, what would you think about on the way down?
    • I would be terrified. I would not be able to think about anything.
  8. Favorite food?
    • Anything that’s really super fresh — like a fresh tomato mozzarella salad.
  9. If you were to enter a talent contest and you could do anything, what would your talent be?
    • I would probably love to sing. I cannot at all, so that’d be awesome.
  10. When you’re not working, what could people most likely find you doing?
    • Well, for actual hobbies, we like hiking — my husband, dog, and I. What we’re actually doing though is working on the house and playing with the puppy. I love house projects. Or we’re doing what the puppy wants to do.

Employee Spotlight: Fran Baldowski

Fran Weaver, Grant Administrator at work & Avid Recycler/Earth Enthusiast in free time
  1. What has drawn you to and kept you at Hoyle, Tanner?
    • Well the real reason I came here is because someone I used to work for, Bill E., called me and said, “Are you looking for a job?” So I came into the interview and it was odd. It was December 1997, and the company was just moving into this space [the mill building]. There were moving boxes everywhere. It was strange. The other interesting thing that happened is that Bill worked in this building for a place called Pandora. I’d worked for Bill in this same building! It was like coming home [laughs]. The people have obviously kept me here. They’re wonderful. [Chuckles] It’s been a thrilling ride!
  2. What’s your favorite thing to see in the office?
    • My favorite thing to see is… happy people. Happy people coming into the office, getting their coffee, settling in for the day. Yeah, happy people.
  3. My favorite time of year to work at Hoyle, Tanner is _____ because…
    • Is there a least favorite? [Laughs] No, I won’t say least favorite. I guess my busiest time and hardest time, and therefore least favorite is April. Because that’s when we’re pushing to get all our grants done for our clients. And then May 1 is when all the grants are due and it’s a collective sigh of relief. I usually take a couple of days off after to recuperate.
  4. What is one thing you feel you have to do before the end of your life? Bucket list item?
    • I’m getting awfully close to that you know! [Laughs] Move to Maine. It’s where most of our clients live, though that’s not the reason I’d move there. I’ve always been drawn to it. The seacoast.
  5. Do you have a favorite quote? Something you live by?
    • “Do unto others.” That’s it.
  6. If you were to skydive, what would you think about most on your way down?
    • “How long is it till I crash?” [Laughs] I’m not a roller coaster person. I know I’d be closing my eyes, saying “Is it over yet? Is it over yet?” A plane is a different story. [We] flew to Augusta, Maine and that was awesome.
  7. If you were to enter a talent contest and you could do anything, what would be your talent?
    • Can I cook? I would cook. I’d make a special meal for the judges.
  8. Favorite food?
    • Seafood—lobster specifically.
  9. My heart melts at the sight of______:
    • [Without hesitation] Puppies.
  10. When you’re not working, what could people most likely find you doing?
    • Volunteering. I volunteer for different organizations. I do walkathons for the animal shelter, and I volunteer for New Horizons Soup Kitchen and Shelter. Through New Horizons I do 5k races. If you volunteer to help at the races, donations go to New Horizons and other organizations. My two favorites are the Friends of Manchester Animal Shelter and New Horizons.